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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2020, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (3): 222-228.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2020.01.006

• Original Clinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Women's preconception health patterns in traditional Chinese medicine as a predictor of fertility outcomes

Xia-qiu Wua,b, Wendy Satmaryc, Jin Pengd, Ka-kit Huib   

  1. a School of Basic Medical Sciences, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310053, Zhejiang Province, China
    b Center for East-West Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA
    c Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA
    d Institute of Basic Research in Clinical Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
  • Received:2019-09-26 Accepted:2019-12-30 Online:2020-05-08 Published:2020-01-26
  • Contact: Xia-qiu Wu, Jin Peng;

To examine the association between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), preconception health patterns and fertility outcomes.

A community-based prospective cohort study was conducted in China. A total of 3012 newly married women who were willing to conceive within 2 years were enrolled in the study and took National Free Prepregnancy Checkups (NFPC). A reliably structured self-rating scale was used to measure the TCM preconception health patterns of the enrolled women. A 3-year follow-up was conducted to obtain the fertility outcomes, including pregnancy rate, time to pregnancy, spontaneous miscarriage and newborn status. Statistical analyses were conducted using Chi-square or Fisher’s exact tests, logistic regression models, general linear models and the Cox proportional hazard model.

The fertility outcomes showed no statistic correlations to the terms of NFPC in this population. Approximately a half of the women (46.66%) had unhealthy patterns. Women with qi & blood-deficiency (odds ratio [OR] = 35.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.55–801.15) or qi-stagnation (OR = 4.55, 95% CI = 0.90–23.06) pattern took a longer time to get pregnant, and those with qi-stagnation (OR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.1–3.82) or yang-deficiency (OR = 1.91, 95% CI = 1.12–3.25) pattern had a higher risk of spontaneous miscarriage.

Three unhealthy TCM patterns during the preconception period might be risk factors for low fecundity or poor pregnancy outcomes. The TCM preconception pattern identification may provide a convenient and effective way to screen for potential pregnancy risks beyond the NFPC. Further, appropriate interventions based on the TCM preconception health patterns are needed to improve quality in women’s fecundability and birth outcomes.

Key words: Preconception care, Fertility, Traditional Chinese medicine, Women's health, Risk assessment

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